“I think of my life,” Justus Rosenberg once told an interviewer, “as what the French call concours de circonstances – a confluence of circumstances.”

Those circumstances took Rosenberg from his home in what is now the Polish city of Gdansk to Vichy France, where, at age 19, he became a courier in the storied rescue mission led by the U.S. journalist Varian Fry. Known as the American Schindler for his efforts to save European Jews during the Holocaust, Fry was credited with helping spirit 2,000 refugees out of Nazi Europe, among them prominent intellectuals, artists and writers including Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and André Breton.

Circumstances later led Rosenberg into the French resistance and might have carried him off to a Nazi labor camp had he not pulled off a daring escape.

By the end of World War II, he was working for the U.S. Army as a translator – service that helped earn him the visa that allowed him to come to the United States, where for more than half a century he taught languages and literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and the New School in Manhattan.... Read More: Washington Post